Underground hard rock equipment launched

26th January 2024

Underground hard rock equipment launched

WHEELING AWAY The new Komatsu WX07 wheel loader will make its debut at this years Investing in African Mining Indaba

Set to be launched at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba is underground hard rock mining machinery from mining and industrial machinery developer Komatsu, following an expansion of its portfolio to develop and make available such equipment to the African market.

Komatsu, traditionally a manufacturer of opencast mining equipment, expanded its portfolio to include underground soft rock mining with its acquisition of Joy Global in 2017, and is now introducing underground hard rock mining equipment to Africa.

The company adds that, in future, the introduction of underground hard rock products will offer further sustainable mining solutions.

The first products to debut at the Mining Indaba include the Komatsu WXO7 wheel loader, the Komatsu single boom ZJ21 jumbo drill rig and the Komatsu ZB21 medium-class bolter.

“We see Mining Indaba, the largest minerals event on the continent, as the ideal stage on which to introduce new and existing customers to products that have achieved success in other mining territories, but are yet to be debuted in Africa,” states Komatsu mining operations GM Herman Hollhummer.

In a release, Komatsu reports that its innovative drill and bolter products share a common platform, extending from rear skirt to outer boom, thereby enabling operators to easily convert from drill work to bolting work.

Komatsu adds that this high degree of commonality extends to the equipment’s control systems and operator platforms.

Komatsu views subsurface, hard rock extraction in African mining applications, as an integral part of its sustainable strategy to offer customers a complete mining solution, in both the surface and underground mining environments.

“We’re committed to playing our part in helping the world find solutions to achieve the energy transition it needs, and look forward to bringing customers in the underground hard rock mining sector the same quality of equipment, service and support associated with surface mining equipment in the Komatsu range,” he says.

Renewed Demand

According to the findings in a report – titled ‘The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transition, SIEA, 2021’ – by autonomous intergovernmental organisation International Energy Agency, reaching the clean energy goals of the Paris Agreement by 2040, will require a quadrupling of mineable mineral resources.

The report states that an even faster transition, to hit net zero globally by 2050, will require six times more mineral inputs in 2040, as compared with what is currently available.

To move to a cleaner energy system, Komatsu points again to the report’s implication that the world requires an exponential increase in the scale of sustainable mining operations and the expanded extraction of key minerals including copper, silver, nickel, manganese, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, zinc and rare earth minerals.

“This surge represents an opportunity for Africa and Komatsu,” says Hollhummer.